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Nov 7 / admin

The Food Pyramid Conspiracy

Introduced in 1992, the USDA food pyramid gave Americans a general guide to how they should eat. Growing up in the United States, I personally was blasted several times with this so called “food pyramid.” We were told that a healthy diet should include, 6-11 servings of grains per day, and only 2-3 servings of meats, nuts, or beans. So, great, now that all americans know how they should eat, we should become a more healthy country as a whole. We all know how that’s turned out. In this article, I hope to reveal the conspiracy of the food pyramid, as well as explain (and prove with data) why it is an ineffective diet plan. In addition, I will suggest a much more effective diet that actually makes sense.

In 1992, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the Improved American Food Guide Pyramid to supposedly give people a general idea about how they should eat. This pyramid put an emphasis on grains, with vegetables and fruit as slightly less important and dairy and meat even less important. At the very top there was the “oil” group that contains fatty foods and sweets. The general guide for servings of each group was as followed: 6-11 servings/day of grains, 7-9 servings/day of vegetables, 2-4 servings/day of fruit, 3 cups/day of dairy, and 3-5 servings/day of meat, and little or no food from the oil group.

So great, now Americans have a general diet plan to follow that was designed for optimal health. Not. This plan was developed by the US Department of Agriculture, not the Department of Health and Human Services. So the plan wasn’t developed with human health in mind, it was developed to be an adequate plan that would benefit the American agricultural business. Lobbyists for the food production industries of America highly influenced the food pyramid that they USDA finally published. In fact, the USDA actually originally had a panel of nutritional experts advise them on how they should structure this diet plan, but they decided to disregard their advice to please the lobbyists. That’s right, the published version of the food pyramid was more of a product of corruption than of real advice. And its worked, as Americans are eating more grain than ever before.

But I’m not just going to make such a bold claim about the uselessness of the food pyramid without some evidence to support it. In a recent CDC report, the trends of changes in macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat) ratios and calorie consumption in the United States from 1971-2000 were analyzed, with some fairly interesting results. In the very first sentence of the report, it mentions that “the prevalence of obesity in the United States increased from 14.5% to 30.9%.” In the heart of the report, 3 key trends were unvieled:

  1. Mean percentage of calories from carbs increased (42.4%-49.0%)
  2. Mean percentage of calories from fat decreased (36.9%-32.8%)
  3. Mean total calorie consumption increased (2450-2618 calories)

If you don’t understand what this data means, I’ll explain it to you. In 1971, people were eating less carbs, as they didn’t have this food pyramid to follow. But more recently in 2000, people were following this guide, which is shown by a huge increase in calories from carbs (4 calories/g of carbohydrates). Also, their was a decrease in fat consumption, as grain is fairly low in fat (9 calories/g of fat). So while people were eating less of the calorie-packed fat and more carbs, grains are so jammed pack with carbohydrates that they can be deceptively high in calories. So as you can see, this increase in carbohydrate intake has ultimately led to weight gain, as shown by the first statement of this report.

If you want a real, effective diet plan, you should instead try to shift you eating closer to how it was 30 years ago, with a stronger emphasis on meats and vegetables and a much smaller emphasis on grains. When you do eat grains, make sure they are whole grains, which are healthier and cause less of an insulin spike (insulin increases storage of body fat). A food pyramid that is actually decent is the atkins food pyramid, found here. Its a bit over restricting about grains, as it is a low-carb diet, but it is a similar diet to how many professional bodybuilders eat.

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4 Comments

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  1. Andy / Dec 17 2008

    So since this is known, are they constructing a new dietary plan? I remember going over the food pyramid when I was a kid.

  2. caralluma fimbriata / Aug 24 2009

    There is obviously a lot to know about this.

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